The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Schools observing Black History Month


January 30, 2019

With the calendar set to switch over to February, several area schools have events planned to celebrate Black History Month, starting with a kick-off at 11:30 on Friday at Eastern New Mexico University’s Campus Union Building (CUB).

Damieanus Ochola, coordinator for African American Affairs at ENMU, said the university’s kick-off event is meant to raise awareness for all of the other activities scheduled for February, which begin on Feb. 6 with “Swahili Time.”

Scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Sandia room in the CUB, Ochola, who grew up in Kenya, said he will elaborate on why countries speak Swahili and other deatils about the culture related to the language.

There will also be presentations on “Blackdom,” a colony for African American settlers in New Mexico in the early 1900’s, the challenges and obstacles facing African American men and a mobile museum exhibit that Ochola said would include several artifacts such as digging tools and slavery chains.

Ochola said the events all lead up to the Black Excellence competition on Feb. 28 in the CUB lobby, which Ochola said will be essentially a talent show for African students to show off their cultures.

In Clovis, Selmus Price said he will once again be taking a contingent of students to the African American Legislative Day in Santa Fe.

Price said since 1999, the Legislature has held a bi-annual event to recognize the contributions of African Americans to New Mexico. Price said he has brought a Clovis delegation to the event each year since 2001, giving them an opportunity to learn about African American culture in the Land of Enchantment.

Price said he is still in the proccess of signing students up to participate for this year’s event, but typically he brings about 80 students and chaperones to the Capitol.

“It’s a very nice and moving event. Plus it also gives the students an opportunity to visit the Capitol and see the Legislature in operation,” he said.

Clovis Community College also has an event planned to celebrate Black History Month, though it won’t occur until March.

Desiree Markham, public relations coordinator at CCC, said the college attempted to book Masters of Soul for Feburay, but due to scheduling conflicts the group could not come until March.

The 90-minute performance of classic Motown soul music is scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 4 at the Marshall Middle School auditorium.

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